Mark your calendars: Kentucky Derby day is May 2nd this year. Throwing a party for this event means playing some interesting Kentucky Derby party games. If you have never been to a derby party before, this is the year to sip your mint julep and plan one! Check out these entertaining Kentucky Derby party games for ideas to keep the fun rolling on derby day.
Spin the Bottle Horse Selector
As we all know, there are favorite horses in the Kentucky Derby. These horses have been winning other horse races this year, so the likelihood of them winning the Kentucky Derby is pretty good. But what if the horse you cheered on was not the one you actually chose or even thought would win?
This game from Bet America is pretty simple but very exciting. Have your guests sit in a circle and spin a bottle in the middle, like any game of spin the bottle. However, in this version, whoever the bottle lands on first gets first pick of the horses. This person then leaves the circle, and the game continues until either your guests or the horses run out.
Part of the fun of this game is betting on your horse. So, as your guests arrive at your party, give each six fake dollars, which can be Monopoly money or money you make on your computer and mass print. Your guests can bet on the horses they chose when spinning the bottle, then see who wins when the race begins! If you play other party games with fake dollars, the guest with the fakest money at the end of the party wins the Derby Prize, which can be a bottle of bourbon, a horseshoe flower chain to go around their necks, or whatever derby themed prize you choose.
There are a lot of horse terms and derby lingo that many of us are not familiar with. Get your guests into the derby mood by teaching them some of it with a party game. This game is a spin-off of the Kentucky Derby Themed Characters/Who Am I? Game and is a little less in-depth, but still quite fun. It begins long before derby day, so your guests can get pumped for your Kentucky Derby party.
When inviting your guests, include a different derby related word on a card with each invitation, and direct the guests to bring the card with the term on it and something to the party that has to do with the proper derby use of this term. For example, if you put “silk” on someone’s invitation, they could dress in all one color, as this term refers to the clothing jockeys wear, typically the colors of their horse’s owner. In the invitation, also explain that they must keep their term secret.
As guests arrive at your party, have them drop their term cards in a designated Kentucky Derby hat. While waiting for the race to begin, have everyone display their items on a table and stand back. If someone is wearing their item, they must stand by the table. Draw a card out of the hat and read it aloud, then say “go”, queueing your guests to flee to the table. The first guest to grab the correct item for each card wins a fake dollar of your design, which can be used in other party games, or the person with the most can win a derby related prize.
This game from Celebration Ideas Online is a lot of fun and gets guests feeling like they are actually at the Kentucky Derby. It takes some planning, research, and prep beforehand, but it will be so worth it. The game is a more passive one, so your guests can participate at any time while they wait for the derby to begin.
As guests arrive, they are each given three fake dollars and instructed to write their names on the backs of their dollars. Tell the guests these dollars are for the betting table, and all bets need to be placed before the race begins. Inside, you will have set up a table with ballot boxes on it, one for each horse and labeled as such. Somewhere on the table, have a stack of papers listing the odds for each horse so your guests can know each horse’s statistics without having to research them.
At their leisure, guests can place their fake dollars in whichever ballot boxes they wish. Just before the derby begins, announce that the betting table is closed and no more bets will be accepted. By this time, your guests will all be interested in the derby, and will likely cheer on the horses as the race progresses. Once it is over, divvy out the winnings according to the real race.
Will “My Old Kentucky Home” Ever Stop?
The staple drink of the Kentucky Derby is the mint julep, which contains bourbon. This drinking game from Bet America lets you enjoy that bourbon side of the derby’s drink. Make sure you stock up on alcohol for this game, or ask everyone to bring a bottle of their own to share.
Every year, they play “My Old Kentucky Home” at the Kentucky Derby. Sometimes the song seems to go on for quite a while, and sometimes it actually does. Gather up your guests that want to participate in this drinking game and grab your stop watch. Start your stop watch when the song begins, and every thirty seconds, have everyone take a shot. In a few minutes, you may forget to check if the song is still playing.
Derby Horse Game
This game from Cleverly Inspired requires a lot of prep. Thankfully, the creator of this game made printable aides to get everything set up, so definitely visit the website. This derby game is a sort of board game and only allows six players at a time, as it relies on dice for the game piece movements. If you want to make a few of these games so all of your guests can play, feel free.
After assembling the board game and pieces, have up to six players roll a die to see which jockey piece, which is really a shot sized red solo cup inverted and decorated with colored jockey and horse cutouts and numbered 1-6, they will be. Have them take their marks on the game board, which has six columns, one for each jockey, and at least twelve intersecting rows, representing spaces to move to reach the finish line.
Everyone antes in one fake dollar. Then, in numerical order, have each “jockey” roll six dice at one time. The numbers the dice show indicate who moves and how many times. So if the dice showed three sixes, jockey six would move three times. All six dice are moves for each corresponding jockey number until one reaches the end, winning the ante pot. Players take turns rolling until there is a winner.
Suggested by Better Homes and Gardens, whether you set this derby game up outside and play legit horseshoes or create a version of it to play in your house, this is a great game for your guests to pass some time with. Your guests can play as teams or go hard core one-on-one. Feel free to post game rules or let your guests decide how they want the game to go. You can reward the winner or winners with mint juleps or fake dollars.